Ketamine is a hallucinogen or it contains an agent that produces hallucinations, a feeling of detachment from oneself. Though it is used as an anaesthetic and a reliever for intense pain, ketamine is not YET approved as a treatment for depression in spite of its amazing effects in treating different types of depression. Studies show that there are still unreported cases about the ketamine effects, and it still needs to satisfy the approving authority that ketamine is safe when it is administered with the right dose in the right route.
However, 70% of people who are on ketamine treatment respond in just one day, and the remaining percentage are people responding to ketamine after 3 infusions. The benefit is longer up to four months after six infusions over 3 – 6 weeks. Most of the oral antidepressants become effective only after a few weeks. But with ketamine treatment, the effect is often rapid and it takes only a few hours to see the results.
According to almost all reports, ketamine is safe to use, as long as it is administered at the right dosage and route at a prescribed frequency. In addition to this, well-trained ketamine service staff will definitely guarantee you a safe administration of ketamine throughout the entire procedure.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS
The side effects of ketamine are classified as common side effects and adverse effects. Common side effects are after effects or reactions we usually anticipated prior to administration, while adverse effects are harmful effects we do not expect or rarely noticed.
- Dissociative feeling – a feeling of detachment of the mind from the body and surroundings, or a feeling of being separated or “out of body” feeling
- Floaty feeling
- Nausea and vomiting – can be treated with anti-emetic or antinausea medication. A light meal before treatment can avoid having it
- Increased blood pressure or rapid heart rate – monitored by the team from the beginning and after the treatment. If you find it uncomfortable, inform the team about it
- Headache – can be relieved by paracetamol
- Bruising – there is a bruise-like around the area of the back of your hand where the needle is placed, and it will disappear in a few days.
- Anxiety – can become a “near death” experience usually happen the moment ketamine flow into your system. Once the ketamine combines with enzymes in your body, it breaks down into substances and your anxiety decreases spontaneously.
LESS COMMON SIDE EFFECTS
- Hallucinations – it involves your senses; you see, feel, and hear things which seem real, but actually not.
- Dysphoric mood – a feeling of extreme sadness, irritability, and loss of interest in doing things you usually like. It is almost similar to a manic depressive state where suicidal thoughts are present. Notify the team in case of dysphoria happens.
- Mania – characterised by extreme euphoria, excessive and rapid thoughts, increased energy and talking too much. Ketamine infusion must be stopped immediately if mania is suspected.
- Liver damage – you will need a blood test every 6-8 months done by our doctors. An amount should be paid prior to the test.
RISKS OF LONG-TERM KETAMINE USE
Long-term use of ketamine may put your physical and mental well-being at risk. People who tried taking ketamine continuously are most likely to become drug dependents. They thought that if they stopped taking ketamine, their depression will recur so they have no other options but to continue having the treatment as if it is already a part of their lives. If they have developed drug tolerance, the treatment need to be reviewed as it may no longer be effective
The best thing in these circumstances is to decrease the dose and prolong the intervals so as to manage the effect. If you are yearning for ketamine and there is always a desire to take more of it, it is important to be honest and inform the ketamine team about it.
People who are taking ketamine more than 1 gram, a larger dose than that we use in the treatment, are more likely to develop bladder damage. The marked symptom of ketamine-induced bladder damage is painful and frequent urination. You can prevent further damage to your bladder by drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding alcohol. Inform your GP and the ketamine clinic if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Cognitive impairment can be seen in people who are addicted to ketamine. A person may have difficulty remembering things and making decisions when taking high doses of ketamine for a long time. Studies showed that cognitive impairment has been linked to brain lesions.
There are reports that lack of interests or concern with other people and things is one of the many signs of people who always crave for drugs.